Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award

May 1988


The primary objective of this study was to identify determinants of upward mobility for individuals who subsequently achieve elementary principalships. Since many educators aspire to elementary principalships, awareness of tangible and intangible determinants is important to principalship candidates in their upward movement to the elementary principalship. The basic research tool was a qualitative research interview. A purposive sample was used involving individuals with identified expertise and with access to certain desired information. Therefore, the study involved two levels of administrative personnel--superintendents who recommend and elementary principals who have been appointed to positions within school systems. The sample included 21 school superintendents who had recommended elementary principals in the last three years and 33 elementary principals hired because of their recommendations. Superintendents in the First and East Tennessee Development Districts, and elementary principals hired in those districts were identified as the sample. Findings of this study reveal that superintendents and principals were generally in agreement concerning the existence of selection influencing determinants. Superintendents reported they relied heavily on an aspirant's track record, professional appearance, professed loyalty, direct thought processes, extra work without complaint, professional growth, curriculum experience, confidence, leadership abilities, visibility in the school setting and community, and "fit." Elementary principals reported selection determinants as an excellent track record, visibility in a school setting and the community, direct thought processes, confidence, positive with people and parents, professional dress, knowledge on administration, positive attitude, extra work without complaint, loyalty, leadership, curriculum expertise, ability to communicate, and having a mentor relationship with one presently in an administrative or supervisory position within the school system. Even though superintendents and principals were generally in agreement concerning determinants of selection, they identified different determinants as being more important when it came to making the final decision of selection. Superintendents reported they relied heavily on what they identified as professional opinion, sixth sense, or "fit." Elementary principals reported the deciding factor dealt more with their past successfulness as a teacher and their knowledge of administration.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted